A group blog for ESL teaching in a Hong Kong post-secondary institution: features analysis and comparison

Sin Ying Sharon Wong and Sze Ming Kat Leung
Caritas Institute of Higher Education
Hong Kong SAR, China

Blogging was originally employed for social interaction, but many language instructors have used this platform to encourage students to practise writing. The present study compares three existing group blogs — Mahara, Blogger and WordPress — and generates some common features of group blogs based on them. These commonly cited features have been incorporated into the design of a group blog for a group of sub-degree level students in a higher education institution in Hong Kong. The purpose of this group blog is to encourage students to use English as a second language in writing and reading during their spare time. In the group blog prototype, eight categories related to different writing genres have been created to boost students’ motivation for sharing their ideas, viewpoints and emotions with other blog readers and/or writers on their chosen categories. Further research on students’ perceptions of the preliminary design of this group blog will be undertaken.